31st October 2007

States of Guernsey voted to lower the voting age

Guernsey has often led the way where the mainland has later followed. Its local airline, Aurigny, was the first to ban smoking on all of its flights, and Guernsey was a whole year ahead of the mainland when it abolished the death penalty. Even then, the law had lain dormant for decades since the gruesome execution of John Tapner.

It did it again on 31 October 2007. On that day it moved to reduce the minimum age for voting in elections from 18 to 16. The proposal itself had to be voted on by the island’s Deputies, who passed the motion by 30 votes to 15. The change gained royal sanction and went into law on 19 December 2007. This required that amendments be made to the Reform Law of 1948, which governs how the island manages its elections.

Jersey had already implemented a similar change itself.

Eligibility to vote

Anyone who wants to vote has to be on the electoral roll. For this they must be ordinarily resident on Guernsey (and have been for five years overall, or the last two years consecutively) and at least 15 years old.

Voters in Herm are subject to the same conditions as those in Guernsey since the island falls within the electoral district of St Peter Port South. Sark, however, is treated separately and has set its minimum voting age at 17.

The minimum voting age in Alderney remains 18 for electing members of the States of Alderney, two representatives of which also sit in the States of Guernsey.


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